Why Bother With Ask’s PPC Program?

By Bartley McGowan | Jun 18, 2007
More Articles by Bartley


A couple weeks ago I decided to start advertising on Ask.com for one of our e-commerce clients. I went through the whole process of signing up, depositing funds, etc. I even set up my first campaign for just one of the products. I wanted to try out some keyword insertion that works in Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. I couldn’t find anything in Ask’s help section about it, so I just went ahead and took my ad live to see if it worked. Ask claims your ads can go live in minutes by the way.

So I put my keyword in the search box and looked for my ad. I saw an ad for my client and it came up with the keyword inserted as I had wanted to. But, I took a closer look at the ad and realized it was NOT the same ad I just wrote. Upon further inspection, I realized that this was actually my Google ad showing up in the PPC at Ask.com. I was pretty lucky that I caught this before uploading my entire campaign and I went on do some more digging before going any further with Ask.

I first went to Google to see what the story was. They were very nice and admitted/explained right away that yes, Google ads get served when someone enters a search query at Ask.com. But he was not able to answer my questions on how the bidding works or if two ads (one Google, one Ask) would wind up showing at the same time, etc.

So I then moved on to the folks at Ask. Not one person I could get on the phone could answer my questions, but they assured me that someone would get back to me. A few days later I did get an email that answered my questions. Basically, I came to the conclusion that if you are already advertising on Google, there really is no reason to advertise on Ask.com and here’s why:

– your Google ads are already showing up there
– both your Google ad and Ask ad could show up at the same time (this could be a benefit for some, but what if someone is price shopping and they already left your site, but then click on the next ad again not realizing it’s the same company – you pay twice as much for that non conversion
– Ask’s network of other sites is a who’s who of websites that don’t matter anymore (Excite, Lycos, etc.)

The thing that really bugged me was that Ask doesn’t come out and make this very obvious to their advertisers. How many people could possibly be going to Ask before Google when thinking about PPC? Ask was an afterthought for me and something I was going to try out to supplement my ads in the big three. When I first started an account, I even wrote them asking if they had a simple way to convert a Google campaign in to an Ask campaign the way Yahoo! does and when they wrote me back they didn’t even bother to tell me that my Google ads were already showing on Ask.

So readers, I ask you this: Do any of you advertise on both Google and Ask? If so, let us know your reasons and experiences.

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